2020 has been an incredibly challenging year due to COVID-19, however with a New Year on the horizon and green shoots starting to appear, with improvements in the economy, there is hope that 2021 will bring the fresh start we have all been looking for. To get ahead, we thought we would share our top 10 recruitment trends for 2021.

With the rapid, nationwide move to virtual recruitment and new pressure on systems and tool integration, the recruitment landscape has had to heavily evolve with demand over 2020. Although it may seem impossible to predict, after the turbulent year we have all endured, there are a few emerging trends. The recruitment trends for the next 12 months look to be building on the efficiencies of this ‘new world’ of working, whilst utilising the time saved to deliver greater brand experiences and reflect on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Check out our breakdown of the top 10 2021 recruitment trends to look out for:

Defining an employer brand

Your employer brand goes a long way beyond colours, logos and design assets. Defining your employer brand is about communicating your employer value proposition, sharing what you stand for, your company’s narrative and ensuring this resonates with your target talent pool.

A strong employer brand has long been used to differentiate employers and to attract great talent, which in recent years with a candidate-driven market has been critical. Even though the market may have shifted slightly, due to the pandemic period, a strong, trustworthy and authentic brand will play a large role in securing the best candidates going forward. New hires will be looking for organisations who offer support, flexibility and are able to adapt to changes in circumstances, such as the global challenges we have all just faced.

Those organisations who are proactive in communicating and sharing their employer value proposition, be it across social, at employability events or through Corporate Social Responsibility programmes, will be at a great advantage. 

Delivering a great candidate experience

The candidate experience is an extension of your employer value proposition, where the candidate can see first hand how you support and encourage your employees. This continues to be an important trend into 2021, as it is an ever-evolving process. Studies show that greater employee satisfaction correlates to greater productivity and employee loyalty and in 2021 we see this start even earlier in the process, during recruitment. It is critical that the candidate experience delivers a positive first impression of your company.

The candidate journey often starts from a search or a social-targeted campaign and each touch point along the process should be reflective of your brand values and utilise keywords and phrases to spark interest and intrigue. Delivering a streamlined application process and removing any complexity will improve your application rates, but it is important to get the balance right between ease and detail, so candidates have the opportunity to showcase their abilities.

By combining effective technology and human touch, in-house recruiters can deliver a personalised, but time efficient candidate experience that represents the organisation. In a digital age, expectations are far more than just receiving a good package and perks, the experience also plays a big role in the acceptance decision.

Location, Location, Location

In 2020 the world was forced to become more mobile, with a surge in changes across work-from-home policies, hot desking and online meeting integrations. With this new technological infrastructure now in place, 2021 is set to be an interesting year for the traditional work environment.

As efficiencies, cost savings and flexible work perks start to play a role, there is anticipation that the traditional working-world may evolve and this is an exciting prospect for recruitment. With no geographical limitations, your candidate pool becomes a lot greater and talent in completely different cities may suddenly be applying for your roles.

The virtual, becoming the new reality

Despite a move to working from home, with greater independence and flexibility, there is still a great need for face-to-face interaction. In 2021, we anticipate this will continue to strengthen with the likes of Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams becoming the norm not only for working, but for interviewing too.

Employers have already had to adapt standard hiring processes to operate online and many have reaped great benefits, with it providing an efficient, cost effective and time-saving solution. With recorded interviews and templated set up, you can easily roll out video interviews with less impact on internal diary management, and share files with the wider panel for review post recording.

With this in mind, we may also see an increase in gamified recruitment tactics to bring the process to life, including augmented reality, quizzes and interactive guides, to test specific skills. Gamification is often used at assessment centres and in job fairs, but can also go a long way to elevating your virtual recruitment experience too. 

The remote revolution

Even pre-pandemic, remote working has been a big trend for the last few years as employers seek to motivate their workforce to optimise their time and work life balance, for a more productive and sustainable working culture. The shift in 2020 accelerated this move, and has shown that even more traditional office-based roles are able to function remotely and that there are great business benefits, such as cost savings to be had with this remote revolution.

As we head into 2021, expectations from new hires are likely to include a more flexible work pattern, with home-working as standard where feasible. This will move from being a unique ‘perk’, to becoming the norm for a lot of organisations.

Building a talent pool

An emerging recruitment trend for 2021 is a return of the emphasis on building a strong talent pool. In a competitive recruitment environment, especially with highly skilled and specialist roles, it can be difficult to find qualified and experienced candidates. A growing talent pool will support you in managing your cost per hire and time per hire. It is vital to keep this audience engaged and interested, regardless of the live opportunities and this is a great way to continue to share your employer brand proposition.

Internal recruitment is also seeing a resurgence, as employers look to provide a greater structured career path internally to retain great talent.

Intelligent social targeting

There is great overlap between recruitment and marketing, and a large part of advertising roles is understanding your target talent and where they are most likely to be receptive to your opportunities. With social media playing a heavy role in the day-to-day lives of most people, it can no longer be seen as a supplemental platform for recruitment. It is a must and one of our key recruitment trends for 2021.

This coming year, intelligent social targeting will become the norm in the recruitment advertising toolkit, as savvy recruiters seek to cultivate relationships proactively with active and passive candidates online. In a volatile, competitive market, utilising data-driven decisions will maximise spend on this channel, and enable organisations to build employer brand value awareness and to target key geographies, interests and core skills.

Although technology is fast evolving, the fundamental goal of hiring is still the same; to get as close a match between the company’s needs and a candidates competencies, and social targeting goes a long way in pairing the two.

Streamlined automation

Over the last 10 years, recruitment has gone through a period of dramatic digital transformation and in-house recruiters have increasingly been exploring the benefits of AI and automation to improve efficiencies and streamline manual internal processes.

As technology continues to advance, even greater opportunities for sophisticated automation will become available in 2021. Although it is important to strike a balance between technology and human intervention, delivering a personal and positive candidate experience, a lot of organisations are using automation to source and screen candidates. Finding a balance will be key to recruitment success over the coming year.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

2020 has brought a positive step in raising awareness of the importance of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace. There has been a nationwide rise in organisations making statements and starting initiatives to ensure equal opportunities and focus on embracing diversity.

Although this may seem like a recurring trend in recruitment from recent years, in 2021 we think this recruitment trend will evolve further as we expect to see neurodiversity and the way in which different generations work feature alongside gender and cultural diversity as part of a company’s recruitment strategy.

Establishing a diverse workforce has already been proven as beneficial, encouraging collaboration, enhanced team creativity, faster problem-solving and greater employee engagement. As the benefits become more apparent, it is vital in-house recruiters eliminate bias as much as possible, using inclusive advertising and carefully designed recruitment processes to ensure a fair process for all.

Sought after soft skills

As we further embrace the digital world of work, it is becoming increasingly important to consider the soft skills of employees, alongside qualifications and specialist experience. It is estimated that at least two-thirds of jobs heavily rely on soft skills such as communication and empathy and as digital drives new distance between colleagues, new hires need to support in the building of bridges to remain a connected and collaborative workforce.

In a recent study by LinkedIn, Creativity, Persuasion, Collaboration, Adaptability and Emotional Intelligence we cited as the top 5 most in-demand soft skills for 2020 and beyond. Now more than ever before, soft skills will need to be considered in the same manner as technical or hard skills to ensure a balance and that candidates joining the business are trustworthy, motivated and disciplined, especially with the rise of remote working.

What the future holds

This time in 2019 we would have never predicted the challenges and changes of 2020. It has been undeniably different, with repercussions that will echo for many years to come. However, with great change comes great opportunity, and as the recruitment landscape evolves alongside technology, employer demand and candidate expectations, there are some exciting trends on the horizon.

If you are looking to innovate your recruitment in 2021 or would like to discuss how to pioneer some of these recruitment trends in your organisation, get in touch today.

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